Launched in 2011, Alliance for Food Sovereignty (AFSA) is a broad alliance of civil society actors who are part of the struggle for food sovereignty and agro-ecology in Africa. These include African farmers’ organisations, African NGO networks, specialist African NGOs, consumer movements in Africa, international organisations that support the stance of AFSA, and individuals. Its members represent smallholder farmers, pastoralists, hunter/gatherers, indigenous peoples, faith-based institutions, and consumers across Africa.
It is a network of networks, currently with 37 active members in more than 50 African countries. The constituencies of the 30 member networks total more than 200 million people.
The core purpose of AFSA is to influence policies and to promote African solutions for food sovereignty. AFSA serves as a continental platform for consolidation of issues pertaining to food sovereignty and together marshal a single and louder voice on issues, tabling clear workable solutions.
The agenda of Africa’s agriculture and food system is largely being driven by market interests rather than local food producers. The popular policy trend for African governments is to push for the industrialisation of agri-culture, which demands the use of agro-chemicals, as well as hybrid and GMO seeds, and is highly mechanised.
Policy frameworks are designed to advance industrial agriculture at the expense of farmer and community rights to seed, rights to use and own land, and rights to culturally acceptable and appropriate food.
AFSA is advancing an agriculture and food system that Is centred around people. Agroecology is the way to go if Africa is to deal with the current challenges of food, climate, nutrition, land and the environmental crisis. Agro-ecology is a transition towards increasing biodiversity; strengthening farmer innovation and sharing; managing pests; and feeding and building the soil through nature-based practices. AFSA recognises the strength of small-scale food producers and calls on African governments to build on these strengths in dealing with the challenges of food sovereignty and malnutrition.
Among the interventions that AFSA is undertaking is building the capacity of farmers and other practitioners in techniques that feed the soil. AFSA has so far organised five regional training courses on biofertiliser production adapted to various local contexts within Africa.
In recognising that one of the ways to promote healthier eating is to make ecologically produced and nutritious food accessible to consumers, AFSA is to undertake a mapping of agro-ecological markets on the continent.
In addition, the alliance will spearhead a process coalescing the voices of African citizens towards a common food policy that creates coherence among policies on African food systems, and advances appropriate solutions. AFSA has also launched a continent-wide campaign called Agro-ecology for Climate Resilience and Adaptation, which showcases and advances agroecology as a solution to the climate crisis in Africa.
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